The Tiny “Houses” of Black Rock City

For only a week out of each year, Black Rock City, the home of Burning Man, is the fourth largest city in the state of Nevada. While the festival participants’ camps are only temporary, a lot of work goes into creating a comfortable, beautiful tiny shelter. These tiny “houses” have to be able to withstand up to 80 mile an hour winds, have to protect their inhabitants from the desert heat and cold, and the notorious dust storms of the Black Rock Desert. It also helps if they are colorful and attract attention. It makes them easier to find in the mass creativity that is Black Rock City.

Our neighborhood of 3:15 and Inherit in Black Rock City, NV

Our neighborhood of 3:15 and Inherit in Black Rock City, NV

moroccan_tent

While at Burning Man, you “live” in the city. When someone asks you where you live, you say something like, “On the corner of 7:00 and Chaos, right next to the giant spaceship.” (referring to the horizontal “C” street and vertical number street of the Black Rock City map). This year’s city was 9,460 feet in diameter and included 44 miles of streets. It helps to know exactly where your tiny house is located.

To the un-Burned eye, Black Rock City looks a little beat up and run down, but when you are in one of the most inhospitable places on earth, any little bit of comfort is appreciated. The inhabitants of Black Rock City are an amazing group of people with extremely creative ideas and skills who create little laps of luxury in the desert.

These are some of my favorite tiny houses of Black Rock City:

Hexayurts were quite popular this year

Hexayurts were quite popular this year

So were tipis

So were tipis

I even found a half-finished gypsy wagon down the street

I even found a half-finished gypsy wagon down the street

A very well insulate yurt

A very well insulated yurt

This structure has a central living area and a loft for sleeping

This structure has a central living area and a loft for sleeping

A beautiful, handmade truck trailer

A beautiful, handmade truck trailer

This geodome uses solar panels for power

This geodome uses solar panels for power

The Oliver trailer owned by Chris and Cherie from Technomadia

The Oliver trailer owned by Chris and Cherie from Technomadia

Each house roof was on hinges

These tiny houses were built for storage and sleeping

The trailer of the Hollywood Death Squad

The trailer of the Hollywood Death Squad

Our neighbor converted a toy hauler into a tiny shelter with French doors

Our neighbor converted a toy hauler into a tiny shelter with French doors

This dome was used as a steam room

This dome was used as a steam room

A lovely pink setup at the entrance to Kidsville

A lovely pink setup at the entrance to Kidsville

This mutant vehicle, also a shelter, was towed by a tractor

This mutant vehicle, also a shelter, was towed by a tractor

The inhabitants of the VW Bus Camp travel in groups

The inhabitants of the VW Bus Camp travel in groups

You can even have a white picket fence in Black Rock City

You can even have a white picket fence in Black Rock City

And my all-time favorite…

The Neverwas Haul, one of the best known mutant vehicles on the Playa

The Neverwas Haul, one of the best known mutant vehicles on the Playa

By Christina Nellemann for the Tiny House Blog

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Bill - September 14, 2009 Reply

It looks like you could find almost any type of tiny house there at the festival. Nice work on the photos.

seth - September 14, 2009 Reply

Some of those are amazing! My boss goes to burning man every year and has told me about some of those tiny homes. I’ve been thinking about going just to get more ideas.

That ‘neverwas haul’ is fantastic. I’d love to see the interior photos of that crazy contraption!

Christina Nellemann - September 14, 2009 Reply

Seth. You can find lots of information, video and photos of the Neverwas Haul on the web and the Neverwas Times: http://neverwashaul.com

It is actually hard to photograph inside since it can be a bit tight when there are people roaming around inside, as it was at this year’s Burning Man. We met the guy who built it, a funny Irishman who proudly waves the Erin Go Braugh flag.

You just have to see it for yourself. It is fantastic!

Alex - September 14, 2009 Reply

That was the coolest post I’ve seen in a while. I want to go there!! I had never really seen the domes before.

    Kent Griswold - September 14, 2009 Reply

    Hey Alex – glad you liked it, thanks Christina for such great coverage and photos. Wish we could always have this cool of post, we do the best we can 🙂

The Tiny “Houses” of Black Rock City | Tiny House Blog « Technoprimitive 3 - September 14, 2009 Reply

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Cherie / Technomadia - September 14, 2009 Reply

I love the creativity that goes into making shelter for Burning Man and the environment of the playa!

For us, pulling our actual full time home onto the playa is doubly amazing. When you wake up in the afternoon and realize you really are home at Black Rock City – it takes the whole ‘Welcome Home’ greeting to another level. Thank you for including us in your Tiny Home round up 🙂

Hope you burn was amazing!

– Cherie

Christina Nellemann - September 15, 2009 Reply

Hi Cherie!

It was so nice to meet you and Chris. Thank you for the little stickers. This year was so wonderful…great people, great weather, and an overall fantastic burn.

-billS - September 15, 2009 Reply

The Neverwas Haul, very “Chitty-Chitty-Bangish” therefore very very very COOL! I love it…Does it have wings?

This Tiny House - September 15, 2009 Reply

Christina I didn’t know you were going this year we could’ve met up there!

Thanks for the great pics. It’s always so amazing to me the amount of work people put into creating beauty at Burning Man.

Maybe I’ll catch you next year!

Randy - September 16, 2009 Reply

What an fascinating post! Some of the most interesting little “pads” I’ve seen in awhile. I’d love to learn more about this gathering so maybe I could attend in the future and see these little jewels in person. Does this group have a website?

Christina Nellemann - September 16, 2009 Reply

Hi Hillary. Yes, I did not know you were going until Kent told me. We should definitely meet up next year. I would love to see your little trailer. 🙂

Randy, the website is http://www.burningman.com. As for the thousands of different groups that go each year, you can usually find a list of theme camps on the Burning Man website and then do a search for their websites. For example, VW Bus Camp: http://www.vwbuscamp.com

Each year is different. You never know what you will see.

Dan - September 16, 2009 Reply

I have never seen anything like this. I’ve heard of Burning Man before, but not really what it was nor pictures of the area. Some very creative dwellings set up around there. Cool to see so many variations of tiny structures in one place.

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